PGE prepared for disaster with backup control center - KPTV - FOX 12

PGE prepared for disaster with backup control center

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(KPTV) -

It’s impossible to avoid watching the news of the past few days: the string of costly, natural disasters across the United States. 

Portlanders are reminded they are not immune to extreme weather. Portland General Electric is one company trying to stay one step ahead.

They not only prepare for disasters with yearly exercises, but they also have a backup control center in case their main one becomes inoperable.

PGE’s control center is 1,800 square feet equipped with emergency generators, a fuel supply, and backup servers. Its location is secret because of safety reasons, which are their number one priority. 

Jay Jewess, PGE’s director of Business Continuity and Emergency Management, said they are prepared as a company for any impact to their electrical grid: natural disaster, cyber hack, or physical attack.

He said they take an all hazards approach. 

“If our employees are prepared for disasters, then they’re going to be here for the community after a disaster,” said Jewess. 

All 2,800 of their employees are CPR and first aid certified, and all of them have go-bags ready.

Stan Sittser, a PGE spokesman, has customized his go-bag with all the essentials.

“Spare underwear! After two days on the job, you know, I could still do my job but other people probably want me to switch underwear,” he said. 

If it comes down to it, Jewess said there is room for 60 people comfortably for 10 days.

“It’s not the plushest of accommodations, but we do have bunk beds. And if we had to man up 24 hours a day, we can. Employees stay here overnight,” said Jewess.

There’s backup communication in a radio control room, even food and laundry.

“If there is a disaster or an incident, what you want to bring is a familiar face. You always want to know who to call, who to work with, and that’s very important before a disaster hits,” said Jewess.

Jewess said in case of a disaster, they can quickly connect with federal, state, county, and city resources, as they have with the Eagle Creek Wildfire.

They maintain those relationships by hosting practice drills, like one that was held last week at their backup control center.

PGE employees ran through outage scenarios caused by extreme weather events and other emergencies.

Emergency managers said they’re becoming more resilient all the time and they want you to know they’re prepared.

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